Dr. Mom, My Adventures as a Mommy-Scientist

Discussion of my journey from grad school to postdoc to tenure with two kids, a husband, (and a bit of breast cancer) in tow.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Satisfyingly Accomplished

So the last two weeks have been great. (The fact that we were on Spring break was probably a contributor). But two significant things have happened to me that have changed my outlook.

(1) I went to another university to give a seminar.
I have done this before, but this was one of the first times that I have been fully comfortable with it. Now that I am more seasoned, I actually had things to talk about with each faculty that I met with. This made the situation much more comfortable than when I was interviewing. Also, my talk was 2/3 data from my lab and only 1/3 postdoc data (and no PhD data!). When putting it together I realized how much we have accomplished and I was proud.

(2) I put together my annual report for my annual review
When I started to put this together, I was dwelling on the fact that all 6 of my grants submitted in the Fall were rejected. As I put together the yearly report, I realized the one that I got funded actually falls in this review year. Also, as I started to list all my accomplishments, I realized that I have been busy, and that I have done a lot more than I thought.

I think sometimes sitting back and taking stock of what you have done can be really refreshing. It is easy to get focused in the details of now and not recognize the successes that you have already had. That made me feel much better.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Teaching Evals

If you ever need a downer, just read your teaching evals....

Well, it is the end of the quarter and we are going through teaching evals right now. In addition to the standard evals, I asked them to do an evaluation for me personally and just finished reading the comments. It seems that no matter what I do it will never, ever be enough.

I don't want to go into details, but most of the problems emanate from the TAs and particularly my reliance on them. Last year I did a lot of the preparation and grading myself and as a result I did literally nothing else. I spent every moment at work on teaching plus 2-3 hours a night at home and about 1 weekend day. So this year, in the interest of balance, I pushed a lot of things on the TAs. I didn't observe their work as closely as I should have, and also assumed that they would do some things that they didn't, and didn't follow-up to make sure that everything I asked to be done was done, and there were some issues. Next year I will have to be much more diligent in following up with the TAs.

What most concerns me is that there is a perception that I don't care about teaching and that I care about my research more than teaching. This is hurtful because I am actually one of the most passionate profs on teaching in the department, and am known for my interest and enthusiasm (at least among the faculty). So clearly there was a major disconnect if that is how the students felt. That really troubles me. Also, NSF is constantly clamoring on integrating research and teaching, which I thought I did a particularly excellent job of this year and the result...my student complain that too many of my examples are from my own research!

Don't really know what else to say. Since things aren't going to well, maybe I'll call NSF and ask about that grant I have in....

Hit Counter by Digits Who links to my website?